Mixtress Jamyla Bennu Talks Oyin Handmade, Part 2

Meet  mompreneur, mixtress, all natural beauty product maker and mom of two Jamyla Bennu. Recognized for her love of organic beauty products, this creative starlet is the definition of a woman prepared to take over the world.

I connected with the Oyin Handmade founder (who shares the role with her husband Pierre), to discuss her journey into the beauty arena, as well as her inspirations, her super fab family, and *claps please* – her future pursuits – which includes Oyin Handmade’s presence in Target stores. (Get there fast, they’re flying off the shelves!) Take a peek at the fab naturalista, Jamyla! 

Read Part 1 of this interview here.

Konnectshun: With so many products in the marketplace that focus on going natural and being handmade – how do you make sure that Oyin stays in a lane of its own?

We think it’s great that folks with highly-textured hair have so many opportunities to find the perfect products to make their hair happy, but we recognize that sometimes lots of choices can be overwhelming–so we try to help our Honeys find us by being transparent, visible, and helpful. We love helping folks learn about their hair and all the awesome things it can do, and always try to explain the ways in which our products work so that as folks try them out, they can use them correctly and have the best chance of success. And the more we all learn, the better we understand why certain products do or do not work, which can lead only to more informed choices.

Konnectshun: You currently have a flagship shop in Baltimore, and the products are in some Whole Foods. We also know you’re now in Target – did you think your products would have such a mass appeal? If so, how did you get the message out?

At the very beginning, no – we didn’t create the products with the idea that they would be sold nationwide in large box stores or grocery chains… we were very artisan/mom & pop in our initial idea. It was the response of our early customers which let us know we might have a winner on our hands!!

We are lucky enough to be in an industry with wonderfully engaged and enthusiastic customers… the community of natural hair is so generous with each other and helpful with sharing product reviews and care info! This word of mouth and internet buzz has enabled us to grow slowly and sustainably for over 10 years now. So we have had a while to get acclimated to the idea what we are not the only ones who love Oyin goodies.

Konnectshun: What are your favorite products in the collection? And which demos are you targeting – naturalistas, new moms, kids, men?

Our products are truly for the whole family, and many are multipurpose. There are a bunch I don’t think I could do without, with the main ones being the Honey Hemp Conditioner, Hair Dew, Burnt Sugar, and Boing!/Shine & Define. But the one I cannot leave the house without is the HoneyStick lip balm.

Konnectshun: What challenges have you faced in the development of the product? Did you really create this out of your home?

Yes, really! Once the experimentation bug bit me, I sometimes spent more time dreaming up and playing with hair care ingredients than I did cooking food [laughs]. In the early years, it was a challenge to find organizational and storage tools so that the ‘production’ kitchen could exist in the same space as our regular kitchen.

Konnectshun: Outside of your loyal consumers and true supporters, do you envision any celebrities that you would love to be the face of your brand?

We believe that there is something uniquely beautiful about each of us, and admire anyone who boldly rocks their hair with style and individuality! Some of the heads in the public sphere which we admire are designer Whitney Mero, model Nakia Phoenix, singer Shingai Shoniwa, actresses Kimberly Elise and Tempestt Bledsoe (remember her fly natural cut on The Cosby Show?!)… and of course, Lupita N’yongo with her epic precision barbering.


Konnectshun: In 2012, you were named by Ebony Magazine as ‘The Coolest Black Family In America’ – what is the secret to keeping such a tight union?

There’s no secret. We really like each other and each of our nutty kiddos, and like plus love is a powerful combination. For us, it’s mainly about keeping the lines of communication open and being honest with ourselves and each other. Also, a light-hearted perspective goes a long way when keeping the daily balance. We get overwhelmed or exhausted just as much as everyone, but when we can make each other laugh or realize we are in it together, that brings us right back to center.

We actually just wrapped up a series of relationship videos on Ebony.com called “Love Works” — check it out if you like! This link is actually to the finale, but it has all the other episodes listed so it’s a good place to start.

Originally posted on Mommynoire.com


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